Arancini rice balls

Italian cuisine has a very significant heritage thanks to the many regional gastronomic traditions, each of which contributes in its own way to the flavours, aromas and unique elements of Italian cookery. This recipe comes from a beautiful island region, Sicily, from where we introduce these arancini rice balls, always considered one of the great dishes of Sicilian cuisine, so much so that now it has spread virtually throughout the peninsula. It seems that this wonderful dish arrived in Sicily with the Arabs, those lovers of rice accompanied by meat, vegetables and saffron. The Sicilians made them their own, a truly unique specialty. Depending on where in the region you are, you can find the rice balls either in the shape of a cone or, in its best-known form, that of a ball. They are all fabulous; are you ready to impress your guests?

Ingredients

  • rice 200 grams
  • butter 10 grams
  • eggs 2 units
  • saffron 2 sachets
  • Pecorino sheep's cheese 40 grams
  • tomato passata
  • mozzarella cheese
  • bolognese sauce
  • peas
  • salt
Information
45 minutes Total time
20 minutes Active time
Serves 3 persons
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Preparation

Prepare the Bolognese sauce according to your preferred method. Put the rice in a saucepan, just cover it with water, a little tomato passata, and some salt. Cook over low heat with the lid on for 12 minutes, then let it ‘rest’ off the heat for another 5 minutes, still with the lid on. While the rice is cooking, sauté in a pan some peas until ‘al dente’, and then add to the Bolognese sauce. When the rice has cooled down a bit, add the butter, 1 egg and 1 egg yolk, Pecorino cheese and saffron. Now in your palm make a bed of rice, put a teaspoon of meat sauce in the middle with a cube of mozzarella, then cover with another spoonful of rice. Shape it into a little ball and coat it in breadcrumbs. Once you have made all the balls, fry them in hot oil. Serve hot!

Tips
The original recipe for rice balls used ‘caciocavallo’ cheese; alternatively, however, you could use provolone cheese instead of mozzarella.
Trivia
Arancini rice balls, made famous by their representation in a large number of works of art, are a specialty that belongs to the Sicilian culinary tradition.

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